2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan and Wagon take on M5 and RS6 Avant

We've already seen their sensible siblings: now it's time for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan and Wagon to come out and play. Taking the automaker's handsome luxury mid-ranger as their starting point, the two AMG-blessed upgrades throw in a handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V6 biturbo engine good for 603 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time as low as 3.3 seconds.

That's in the E 63 S Sedan; the Wagon version takes just 0.1 seconds longer. Either way, top speed is an electronically-limited 180 mph. Torque is 627 lb-ft, arriving from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm.

The V8 is fitted to dynamic engine mounts, which can have their stiffness adjusted according to whether comfort or sporty driving is the focus. Much in the same way, half of the cylinders can be deactivated automatically when in Comfort mode, for more economical cruising.

AMG has paired its engine with an AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission, capable of multiple downshifts and double-clutching. There's a dedicated "M" manual-shift mode – as well as temporary paddle override – and a "Gliding" function for more languid driving. AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive is standard, too, capable of pushing potentially all of the power to the rear wheels.

Switch into Drift Mode, meanwhile, and that locks the rear-wheel drive settings. An electronically regulated rear-axle limited-slip differential is standard, too, cutting inside wheel slip while cornering, and there's speed-sensitive steering and three stage Adaptive Damping plus multi-chamber air suspension.

It all comes together in the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT and AMG DYNAMICS modes. The former offers Slipper, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, and RACE; the latter has Basic, Advanced, Pro, and Master levels over things like the ESP and AWD. When it comes for slowing, meanwhile, there are six-piston front calipers and single-piston floating calipers on the back. Mercedes offers an AMG Carbon Ceramic brake system as an option, which also has larger discs.

Styling at the front is shared across both Sedan and Wagon versions. That means a larger central star on the AMG-specific grille, with vertical slats and flanked by all-LED multi beam headlamps. The front bumper is reworked, with a trio of large, functional air intakes; the wheel arches are flared, and there are twin power domes on the hood. In total, it's 1.1-inches wider than the regular E300.

On the sedan, the rear gets new, flatter tail-lamps, which now extend into the trunk lid. There's a reshaped bumper, too, with the lower par in high-gloss black. 3.5-inch trapezoidal twin tailpipes get a titanium matte finish – and inside/outside fluting – and there's a high-gloss black diffuser.

In a welcome departure from Mercedes' understandable-but-awkward naming decision for the 2021 E 450 4MATIC All-Terrain, the AMG E 63 S Wagon will, indeed, be a "wagon" and not an "All-Terrain" car. Hunting potential crossover customers, the automaker decided to add some cladding to the new E-Class wagon and rebrand it, much in the way Volvo has given its V Series wagons a Cross Country makeover. Cunning? Sure, but wagon purists weren't impressed.

We suspect they'll have warmer, fuzzier feelings toward the E 63 S Wagon, however. No cladding, just even more distinctive trim at the rear, with an either body-color or carbon fiber spoiler lip.

Joining the paint options are Graphite Grey metallic, Cirrus Silver metallic, and designo Brilliant Blue magno. For wheels, 20-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloys are standard, in high-gloss grey or matte black. High-gloss black is an option, as is the AMG Night Package.

Inside, AMG sports seats get special nappa leather and custom badging, while more leather features on the dashboard and elsewhere. Yellow contrasting topstitching is available. The wheel is a new AMG Performance model, with twin-spokes and wrapped in leather, microfiber, or a mixture of two; it's heated as standard, uses new capacitive buttons, and a capacitive system for tracking your hands in adaptive cruise mode.

Twin 12.3-inch displays are standard – the center one being a touchscreen – and there's the latest MBUX infotainment system with "Hey Mercedes" voice activation. Custom AMG graphics are standard.

All in all, it's a potent pair set up to take on both BMW's new 2021 M5 and Audi's RS6 Avant. Strong competition, but that can only be a good thing for performance drivers. Pricing for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan and 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon will be confirmed closer to their on-sale date, with each arriving in the US by late 2020.